Catholic Charities USA Responds to 2008 Census Bureau Poverty Data
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA and a member of President Obama's Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, commenting on new statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, noted that while the increase in 2008 poverty levels is troubling it doesn't even begin to tell the whole story. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081008/CCUSALOGO ) "The poverty statistics released today by the Census Bureau reveal the number of people who were living in poverty at the end of 2008, a substantial increase over 2007," Fr. Snyder said. "Yet it does not tell us about the many millions who have joined their ranks in the eight months of 2009 since the toll of the economic crisis has been translated into the loss of jobs and health coverage." "Catholic Charities has always been familiar with the faces of the poor because we serve them every day -- fathers or mothers who lost their jobs or have had their hours cut back; children who need a healthy meal, senior citizens who can't pay the heating bill -- but this downturn in the economy is stretching thin the resources of Catholic Charities agencies across the country to meet the growing needs of our most vulnerable citizens," he added. "As an example, in Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities' free health care center is adding about 100 patients per month. According to Diane Redington, the clinic's administrator, the kind of people they are seeing tend to be new people who were not uninsured before. It's scary for them; they're not used to asking for help. There are also more than 800 people on a waiting list for the center's dental program," Fr. Snyder shared. "In Delaware, the executive director of Catholic Charities reports that they continue to receive thousands of requests for assistance from individuals and families throughout Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore. And as we are seeing in almost all of our agencies around the country, many who are asking for help have never been in this position before," he continued. "Families are hurting. Children are hurting. Senior citizens and those who worked hard all of their lives are hurting," Fr. Snyder reported. "We find this unacceptable in a country as blessed and rich as the USA." "If we ever hope to seriously reduce poverty in America, we must work harder to reduce the social and economic risks that result in people falling into poverty -- particularly now as we have the opportunity to rebuild our nation's economy," he said. "Reducing poverty must be a priority on the national agenda. Let us remember that behind each census number there is a person, a neighbor who needs help. It is time for us to put 'Love Thy Neighbor' into practice." In 2007 Catholic Charities USA launched its Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, which aims to cut the poverty rate in half by 2020 by working with government and business leaders to design policies and programs that lift individuals and families out of poverty and ensure that they are in a better position to prosper in their lives. Catholic Charities USA's members -- more than 1,700 local Catholic Charities agencies and institutions nationwide -- provide help and create hope for 8.5 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its centennial anniversary. For more information, visit www.CatholicCharitiesUSA.org. SOURCE Catholic Charities USA Roger Conner, Sr. Director of Communications of Catholic Charities USA, +1-703-236-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org
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